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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                 251
those of larger size are navigable for small vessels to a consi-
derable distance.
The northern part of the peninsula is now subject to the
kingdom of Siam, which has extended its limits to the south,
so as to occupy the state of Kedah. Further south, inde-
pendent Malays possess the whole of the country, except the
three British settlements of Penang, Malacca, and Singapur.
Prom its proximity to the equated, and from the peculiarity
of its shape,—a long, narrow strip of land, nearly enclosed by
sea,—the Malayan Peninsula enjoys a very mild and equable
climate. The monsoon winds, which are influenced by general
causes at a great distance, prevail here with as much regula-
rity as elsewhere in India, the south,-west monsoon continuing
while the sun is north of the equator, and the north-east
monsoon from October to March, while the sun is in the
southern hemisphere. Local causes, however, modify these
winds very much, and regular land and sea breezes blow along
the coast. Both these monsoons are rainy, as they traverse
a great extent of sea, and the mountain ranges everywhere
condense the vapours. The north-east monsoon is, however,
more rainy than the other, because the mountains of Su-
matra, which receive the first supply of moisture from the
south-west monsoon, "are considerably more elevated than
those of the peninsula itself. The most rainy months are,
therefore/from November to January, and February is the
coldest month of the year. In the Straits of Malacca the
rain-fall is nowhere excessive. On the hill of Penang it was
in one year 116*6 inches, and on the plain at its base only
65*5 inches, while in the province of Weljpsley, on the oppo-
site coast, the amount was 79*15 inches. At Singapur the
fall is 98 inches, and at Malacca the same. On the south
coast of Sumatra, and on the north-eastern face of the Pe-
ninsula, the fall is probably much greater. The mean tempe-
rature of Singapur is 79'7°, and the temperature of the diffe-
rent months differs very little from the mean of the year.
In the equable and humid climate of Malaya, we have a